Quality Tips - Sunset Illumination

Quality Tips - Sunset Illumination


The goal of this tutorial is to achieve great lighting result to enhance the quality of your project and the happiness of your client

Inspecting Max Files

Open basicLightingSunset.max, we need to check a few thing as you would normally do for each of your project:
In 3ds Max : Verify that your Display Units and System Units are in Meters
Customize → Units Setup → System Unit Setup

We will notice several lights in the scene with informative text, all these lights are ready to work once you merge them into your project file

All Lights are already ready to use and saved with the recommended configurations

This package contains as well the envMap Object
Note this is NOT the cubemap, this will be used as ENVMAP information for REFLECTIONS

Using a Custom Atmos or EnvMap

Open atmos_AT_Ext.max, at first glance, you can only see a cube and several cameras, the purpose of this file is to bake the 6 Maps you need to use for ANY Cubemap or EnvMap. you will only need a simple HDRI texture map for this.

Open the Material editor and the first material to the left is the one you need to edit, it has the default sunset HDRI, you can use your own custom HDRI map if you want 

To export the 6 images we need, we need to go to RenderingBatch Render

Change the output path to define the directory where the images will be exported, you will need to do this for the 6 images

Click Render and all the images will be exported to the desired directory

To Import and use the 6 Images as your sky texture, open the Map Scene and find the object atmosCube_ and replace the multi/sub maps,
be careful to match the images

Merging and using the lights

You can use many light sources across your scene, keep in mind a few tips and limitations:
• You can only use up to 3 light groups:
name must be unique in all elements.
• Avoid multiple light overlaps, that may increase your baking times.
• Use instances to edit multiple lights easier.
• Use lights in balconies and interiors to make an unique look for all apartments.
• Optimize your lightmap UVs as much as you can to take the most advantage of the bake resolution.

Where to add Lights?


You can use up to 3 suns

The idea is to use multiple suns to avoid shadowed spots when you move the camera, try to cover the most you can of the building facade but still casting nice and visible shadows 

The suns will switch on and off accordingly to your camera movement 

This is the recommended blueprint setting for the sunset light package 

Remember you can customize certain contributions LIVE to get a better result for your client

Common Questions/Issues

After adding all these lights, my bake time increased to 20 hours 
Having multiple overlapping lights can increase dramatically your baking time, avoid overlapping more than 3 lights in one place. If having overlapping lights is not your case, check the resolution of your lightmaps, this will increase the baking time AND the Tasks.

What should I consider to improve my lightmap resolution?
      • Use lightmap resolution according to the object size ( Don´t use 1024 resolution on SMALL objects, Don´t use 64 Resolution on BIG objects).
      • Share the lightmap on multiple small objects (props, foliage...), to do this, you´ll need to ATTACH the objects and unwrap again with the hauzd Max script (this way, you´ll make sure to not have any lightmap overlapping).